Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More on 9th & Pacific

Participants in last week's 9th & Pacific Community Forum raised a number of issues that needed clarification and/or action:
  • It has been observed by residents and businesses alike that transients and “bad element” people get off the Link (light rail) at the end-of-the-line stop at 9th & Commerce and start being a nuisance after 8:00 p.m. Has Sound Transit given any thought to discontinuing free rides on the Link?
  • Laura Hanan, owner of the Rowland Building on Pacific, asked if BIA could change its late shift to end at 4:00 a.m. (currently, it ends at 3:00 a.m.). BIA committed to look into ending the shift at a later time based upon review of incidents reported between 3:00 and 4:00 during weeks when patrols were out then.
  • Pierce Transit and Sound Transit are negotiating regarding ridership exclusion--individuals who have been expelled from either agency's public transportation will be excluded from both through a communication and identification process. When will this safeguard be (back) in place?
  • Cheryl Gorsuch (co-owner of Sanford & Son, has lived above the store for almost 20 years) reports that after the Link stops running--any night of the week--is when the street disorder becomes visible. She regularly calls 911 or TPD non-emergency number to report suspicious activity. Gorsuch suggested a 50-cent charge for riding the Link, thinking this will eliminate last riders staying in the residential/business end of downtown and keep them nearer the Tacoma Rescue Mission at night. Is this feasible for Sound transit to implement?
  • Though Sound Transit has installed dusk-to-dawn lights on its Link stations, some building owners refuse to do so; consequently, it is pitch black in areas along Commerce at night. Lt. Darlington will revisit building owners along the stretch of Commerce to talk to them about crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) improvements.
  • Sound Transit is currently planning to install video surveillance equipment at all stations; all trains have taped video surveillance. Pierce Transit has CCTV installed throughout the downtown transit center. BIA is working with the City of Tacoma and private property owners to fund cameras at corners where nuisance complaints are high, adding real-time video to enforcement efforts.
  • Lt. Darlington explained that “non-traditional policing” is necessary due to the low number of patrol officers (no more than five at any given time in his sector, which includes downtown, the Tideflats, Northest Tacoma and Hilltop). From time to time, TPD may deploy Special Emphasis Teams (SET) whereby units are focused to one problem area at a time instead of sweeping the whole area. BIA is negotiating with the City of Tacoma to fund one additional dedicated officer, which would allow for more robust swing shift coverage.
This blog will give a progress report on these identified issues as more information becomes available.

Thanks to Kala Dralle, City of Tacoma Community & Economic Development Department, for her notes which are the basis for this post and yesterday's post.


  1. Please set your sarcasm detector to the on position.

    Has Sound Transit given any thought to discontinuing free rides on the Link?

    I don't think this goes far enough. I have a modest proposal. We should end all public transit into downtown Tacoma while maintaining public transit out of downtown Tacoma. I guarantee that since the "bad element" are the primary users of public transportation it will remove the "bad element" from downtown Tacoma. It will be like the opposite of a roach motel. "The bad element checks out -- but they can't check in!"

    Sound Transit is currently planning to install video surveillance equipment at all stations... BIA is working with the City of Tacoma and private property owners to fund cameras at corners where nuisance complaints are high

    This sounds like a great idea! Cameras have worked really well in London, England [2] [3], Newport, KY, Charlotte, N.C., Melbourne, Australia, Leceistershire, England, Cardiff, Wales, Washington, DC and Brisbane, Australia.

    You can turn your sarcasm detectors off now.

  2. Ending free rides on the Link is a terrible idea. I use it frequently, simply because it is fast and free. If it was not free, I would not use it. I can walk just as well.

  3. oh boy, I was the Original Skeptic -- I called it the Hobo Train from the first day -- but really people -- could you please put on your Big Girl Panties (Boys may don their Big Boy Boxers) and get over the idea that the Baby Train Brings Crime to D*town T*town? Are you aware that criminals walk, ride bikes, and drive cars? And there was crime downtown long before the Baby Train -- And some of it took place in the Big Buildings where the Big Boys and Girls go to work everyday -- you know.
    Sometimes I find it very hard to take some peoples brainwaves seriously. And I always try to be a nice mature person. Is anyone in Tacoma aware that people all over the globe use public transportation? Why is this such an occasion for hang-wringing and pearl-clutching?
    and yes I use the Baby Train all the time -- I got over myself some years ago -- I am Urban Girl!

  4. What a terrible, terrible idea it would be to discontinue free service on the link.

    Honestly? It doesn't go very far, and it stops before most people want to get off (by the convention center) and after most people want to get off (at 9th and Commerce.) What would help, would be if it actually stopped at the transit plaza at 10th and Commerce where people are actually gathered for the legitimate purpose of connecting with other forms of public transportation. Instead, it stops where I guess we wish there were something to do.

    If that's not an option, how about a concerted effort to open something, anything, by that last link stop? Until there are "eyes on the street" there, it's going to continue to be an area in need of policing.